GAME AND PLAY AS MEANS FOR LEARNING EXPERIENCES
Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The progressive diffusion of interpersonal communication devices and their evolution into systems more and more versatile, pervasive, ubiquitous and user-friendly contribute to the contemporary process of creating new systems of languages and social behaviors. We are witness today to the continuous progress and emergence of an interactive language that is strongly focused on visual and experiential culture. In particular, the technological context characterizing the contemporaneity and the youth’s daily life are strongly interwoven, leading the new generations - the digital natives - to develop from an early age an entrenched ability to interact with the communication tools.
Referring to the analysis of contemporary scholars (Castells, Jenkins, Flusser) we can affirm that the technological revolution is leading to a new people-to-technology relationship; therefore there is an urgent need to revisit the traditional epistemological paradigms of dissemination and learning of information.
The socio-technological transformation strongly influences our attitude to experience space, time, contents as a way to know and learn. The experience concept assumes an important role for the Communication Design field, which is now enriching itself through the relationship with other disciplines. In this scenario, the connection with Game Studies assumes a great importance and many scholars (Salen & Zimmerman; Montola; Juul) consider the gameplay experience a crucial point.
In this paper we observe how the Communication Design might embrace the Game Design paradigms and methods, aiming to support the learning of contents, attitudes and best practices. We emphasize the meaning of “learning”, reading it as a process aiming to develop abilities and knowledge; we also refer to any activities that lead to define, obtain and consolidate awareness, whether instrumental, social, behavioral, mental (Koster).
In the thousand-year-old study of the learning process, we are now in a phase wherein the learn by doing paradigm becomes more and more important (Castells; Prensky) and acquires new tools and methodologies.
We propose to consider the game and its prominent role in the coeval panorama: its contemporary typologies and state of the art demonstrate its aptitude to act as an interdisciplinary tool. The game is able to involve users in immersive experiences, stimulate the reflection and act on attitudes and habits. It is also important to deem the role of the play activity as a communication and learning mean. People learn by playing thanks to game’s motivational system, that can actually improve cognitive capacity and the ability to abstract, learn and act with awareness (Salen; Juul; Flanagan).
We propose QRiosity, a pervasive game we designed and performed with the Around Play and Interaction Design Research Group, based on the interaction among space, mobile technologies, people and knowledge. It leads players to interactively explore an environment, that is able to react to their actions. It explores the idea of space as a storyteller focusing on the benefit coming from the act of experiencing space and contents through a ludic intervention. QRiosity is an applied playfulness system that induces players to be in a state of psychological flow (Csikszentmihalyi): it is an actual example of the aptitude of people to learn through a ludic process that increases the cognitive process of learning by experiencing.
Keywords: Game, Play, Learning Experience, Education, Game Design, Communication design, Pervasive Game.